Spain Shut Down Turkey To Win Group

24 June 2013

14. Sancho Lyttle (Spain)
Sancho Lyttle produced another huge statline for Spain, as she scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds

By Paul Nilsen

Turning Point: As Turkey were bearing down on successfully competing their fight back from 18 points behind, Marta Xargay hit a big three-point shot for Spain at the end of the third quarter. Her team really needed it to get them going again and importantly it was a spark for the last 10 minutes when they pushed on to take the victory.

Stats Don't Lie: The eye-watering 23.5% from the field in the first half really hurt Turkey and they were always playing catch-up from that point onwards. There is also an issue when playmaker Birsel Vardarli is taking eight rebounds and is your joint best rebounder.

Game Heroes: There was yet another double-double for Sancho Lyttle who had 18 points and 13 rebounds, as well as being a defensive kingpin yet again. There was also an understated but still quality performance from Silvia Dominguez, which was hugely important against a tough Turkey backcourt.


Spain are yet to taste defeat at Eurobasket Women 2013 after inflicting a first loss on fellow medal candidate Turkey, via an impressive 61-48 win which guaranteed top spot in Group E as both teams head for the quarter-finals in Orchies.

With both nations having built their perfect records on the foundation of imperious defence, it was hardly surprising that not much came easy in the first half.

Especially for Turkey, who had a marathon drought in the second period, as Spain extended the 15-10 advantage they had at the end of the first quarter.

The Spanish defence really locked down Turkey, with Sancho Lyttle leading the way and when Alba Torrens followed up a couple of free-throws with a fast break score, her team had doubled the tally of their opponents at 24-12.

It had Turkish head coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu bemoaning his team's inability to control the pace of the game

"It is very important to control the tempo of the game, but unfortunately we couldn't succeed with this," he explained.

"The atmosphere was very suitable for the Spanish team to win the game.

He continued, "From time to time, we made mistakes physically as well as psychologically. We should have minimised these mistakes in a game which was going to decide the group."

After their slow start, worse followed for Turkey when they fell 18 points behind, with the superiority of Spain emphatically underlined by a beautifully executed alley-oop from Lyttle, from an assist by Silvia Dominguez.

With just two points in nine minutes, Turkey were in serious danger of being cut adrift, but rallied in the final minute before the interval

Bahar Caglar broke their barren spell and they gained some much needed impetus from a subsequent and-1 play by Esmeral Tuncluer, which helped them close to 32-17.

Their mini-revival turned into something more substantial as they returned for the third quarter. Firstly a three-pointer by Tugba Palazgolu and a gorgeous floating shot in the lane by Vardarli, got Turkey back in contention at 36-28.

When Tuncluer and Palazoglu then hit back-to-back downtown scores, it was 40-36 to Spain who looked to be on the slide, only for Marta Xargay to make a decisive three-pointer of her own.

That really gave Spain a lift for the final ten minutes, as they recaptured their first-half form and pulled away to their sixth win in as many games.





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